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Failure of E Thornton and Son Ltd

ATOL No: 3452
Date of failure: 01.10.2020

UPDATE: We are only able to process claims made within 12 months of a business ceasing to trade. As it has now been longer than 12 months since this business failure, we are unable to accept any new claims.

ATOL financial protection is covered by the Air Travel Trust’s fund, to find out more about the Air Travel Trust’s fund please click here.

E Thornton and Son Ltd – ATOL 3452 has ceased trading on 01/10/2020.

The company based in Somerset traded under the names Thornton’s Travel Service and website(s),, and


The following information is for ATOL protected bookings;  ATOL protected consumers are those that booked:

An ATOL protected flight inclusive package protected by E Thornton and Son Ltd

Your ATOL Certificate will say either ‘Package Single Contract’ or ‘Package Multi-Contract’ in the bottom right hand corner.  E Thornton and Son Ltd ATOL number 3452 will also be shown in the box to the left of this.

An ATOL protected Flight-Only booking

We understand that E Thornton and Son Ltd sold a small number of ATOL protected flights, but also sold flights under its IATA licence and as agent for the airline operating the flight. These flights are not ATOL protected. Unprotected flights were typically those where full payment was made at the time of booking and a ticket was issued straightaway

Only a small number of the flights sold by E Thornton and Son Ltd were ATOL protected and these were typically for flights secured with just a deposit (rather than payment of the full cost of the flight).

The best way to determine if your flight was ATOL protected is to check your paperwork.   If you booked an ATOL protected flight you should have an ATOL Certificate which says ‘Flight-Only’ in the bottom right hand corner.  E Thornton and Son Ltd ATOL number 3452 will also be shown in the box to the left of this.


ATOL protected bookings

Flight-Only booking

If you have a flight ticket, your flight should be valid, and you should still be able to travel.

The best way to check is to contact the airline.  You can only claim a refund under the ATOL scheme if you were issued with an ATOL Certificate and your flight is not valid, or you have not received a ticket.

Package bookings

If flight tickets have been issued these should still be valid.  If you still wish to travel, please check with the airline. If your flights are valid you have two options:

Option 1. If you do not wish to use your flight you can make a claim for a refund for the amount you paid to E Thornton and Son Ltd for your ATOL Protected package   Also applicable for passengers with non-valid flights.

Option 2. You can still use your flight, but it is likely that the other components of your package have been cancelled, so you will need to rebook these and pay the supplier(s) directly.    To avoid any issues, make sure you know the costs involved before you travel.  Please note that your ATOL claim cannot exceed the cost of your package.  If you book alternatives because your original travel services are not available, or exceed the cost of your package, make sure you book ‘like for like’ replacements.   You can find out more about your ATOL claim entitlements by reading Clause 1.19.11 of the ATT Payment Policy.


Think very carefully before you choose option 2 and check the cancellation terms with the suppliers particularly considering the prevailing short notice travel restrictions and/or quarantine measures.

Please note that if you choose to travel and use your valid flight, you are not protected under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 as your package travel provider has ceased to trade.  You will therefore be responsible for any risks arising from each individual element of your trip which would have previously been protected.


ATOL protected bookings that were cancelled and refund credit notes

If your ATOL booking was cancelled on or after 10th March 2020 due to Covid-19 and E Thornton and Son Ltd gave you an ATOL Covid-19 Voucher – they may have called it a ‘Refund Credit Note’ or provided written confirmation that you are owed a refund, you may make a claim.

Please note that we can only accept claims for cancelled ATOL bookings.   Unfortunately, this means that if you booked an unprotected flight (see above ‘An ATOL protected Flight-Only booking’) you cannot make an ATOL claim and need to speak to the airline.



ATOL Claim form

Please do not use claim forms from other failures as these cannot be accepted, and make sure you enter the correct details as incorrect details may slow the processing of your claim.

Time limit for making a claim to ATOL by 30th September 2021.

The UK CAA has the power to prosecute offences related to its statutory functions. Person(s) who make fraudulent ATOL claims, following the failure of an ATOL holder, may be prosecuted by the UK CAA for offences under section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006. The maximum sentence for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment.